BILL SUMMARY for SB09-164
SENATE COMMITTEE ON HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
|Votes: View--> ||Action Taken: |
|Adopt prepared amendment L.002 (Attachment D). Th|
Refer Senate Bill 09-164, as amended, to the Commi
|Pass Without Objection|
12:26 PM -- Senate Bill 09-164
Senator Newell introduced Senate Bill 09-164. The bill creates the Child Welfare Training Academy in the Department of Human Services. The bill is a recommendation of the Child Welfare Action Committee, which was formed in 2008 in response to a number of fatalities of children in the child welfare system. Senator Carroll stated that minimal improvements have occurred in the previous year, and that the bill will provide comprehensive training for child welfare workers and supervisors. She distributed amendment L.002 (Attachment D) to the committee. She discussed the bill's fiscal note.
12:31 PM -- Bob Cooper, Tennyson Center for Children, testified that the fiscal situation of the state is bad, but that children in the child welfare system must be protected. He discussed the current training requirements for county case workers, stating that workers are often performing core duties of the job prior to receiving the required training. He stated the current system is not doing enough to protect children.
12:35 PM -- Dr. Skip Barber, Colorado Association of Family and Children's Agencies, testified that the bill is a recommendation of the Child Welfare Action Committee, and stated that the bill is an important step forward. He discussed the training and educational backgrounds of county caseworkers. He emphasized the importance of training for the workers, noting that they are responsible for making critical and difficult decisions.
12:37 PM -- George Kennedy, Colorado Department of Human Services, testified in support of the bill. He discussed the department's vision for the training academy. A handout concerning the training academy was distributed to the committee (Attachment E). He emphasized that the training will be offered on a consistent basis.
12:39 PM -- Art Atwell, Colorado Department of Human Services, offered to answer committee questions.
12:40 PM -- Cheryl Ternes, Arapahoe County Department of Human Services, testified that, from the county's perspective, the legislation is very important. She stated that adequate training is important to staff retention.
12:41 PM -- Adoree Blair, children's advocate, testified in support of the bill. She testified that training resources for child welfare caseworkers have declined over time. She stated that qualified case workers are important for children, but whether or not children receive adequate caseworker services is luck of the draw. She testified that the devolved child welfare system in the state creates pockets of good and bad services, and that standardization is important.
12:43 PM -- Pat Ratliff, Colorado Counties Inc., testified in support of the bill, stating that improved training will improve services and help reduce employee turnover. Senator Lundberg asked whether the training will include information on the constitutional rights of children and families in during their contact with the child welfare system.
Senator Newell gave concluding remarks regarding the bill. She stated that the child welfare system will still face challenges, but that the bill is a step towards improving and creating consistency in the system.
|TIME: || 12:51:30 PM|
|MOTION:||Refer Senate Bill 09-164, as amended, to the Committee on Appropriations. The motion passed on a 6-1 roll call vote, with one member excused.|
Final YES: 6 NO: 1 EXC: 1 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS
The committee recessed.